Quetta Shura

Quetta Shura

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The Quetta Shura is a militant
Militant
The word militant, which is both an adjective and a noun, usually is used to mean vigorously active, combative and aggressive, especially in support of a cause, as in 'militant reformers'. It comes from the 15th century Latin "militare" meaning "to serve as a soldier"...

 organization composed of top leadership of the Afghan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 Taliban, that is believed to be based since about 2001 in the city of Quetta
Quetta
is the largest city and the provincial capital of the Balochistan Province of Pakistan. Known as the "Fruit Garden of Pakistan" due to the diversity of its plant and animal wildlife, Quetta is home to the Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, which contains some of the rarest species of wildlife in the...

 in the Balochistan province of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

. The Shura
Shura
Shura is an Arabic word for "consultation". The Quran and Muhammad encourage Muslims to decide their affairs in consultation with those who will be affected by that decision....

 was formed after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was founded in 1996 when the Taliban began their rule of Afghanistan and ended with their fall from power in 2001...

 was toppled in late 2001 and the senior leadership including Mullah Mohammed Omar
Mohammed Omar
Mullah Mohammed Omar , often simply called Mullah Omar, is the leader of the Taliban movement that operates in Afghanistan. He was Afghanistan's de facto head of state from 1996 to late 2001, under the official title "Head of the Supreme Council"...

 escaped into Pakistan. In February 2010, several of the key members of the Quetta Shura, who were dispersed in various cities and towns in Pakistan, were detained by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence
Inter-Services Intelligence
The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence , is Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, responsible for providing critical national security intelligence assessment to the Government of Pakistan...

 (ISI).
Pakistan agreed to repatriate them to Afghanistan if not found to have committed crimes in Pakistan.

Directing the insurgency in Afghanistan


The Quetta Shura is directing the insurgency
Taliban insurgency
The Taliban insurgency took root shortly after the group's fall from power following the 2001 war in Afghanistan. The Taliban continue to attack Afghan, U.S., and other ISAF troops and many terrorist incidents attributable to them have been registered. The war has also spread over the southern and...

, according to General Stanley A. McChrystal
Stanley A. McChrystal
Stanley Allen McChrystal is a retired four-star general in the United States Army. His last assignment was as Commander, International Security Assistance Force and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan...

. In a report to President Obama in 2009, he stated that it posed the greatest threat to his troops. He said, "Afghanistan's insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan. The Quetta Shura conducts a formal campaign review each winter, after which Mullah Omar announces his guidance and intent for the following year." Americans want to extend the Drone strikes
Drone attacks in Pakistan
The United States government, led by the Central Intelligence Agency's Special Activities Division, has made a series of attacks on targets in northwest Pakistan since 2004 using drones . These attacks are part of the US' War on Terrorism campaign, seeking to defeat Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants...

 into Balochistan

In September 2009 US ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson
Anne W. Patterson
Anne Woods Patterson is an American diplomat and career Foreign Service Officer. She currently serves as the United States Ambassador to Egypt. She previously served as acting United States Ambassador to the United Nations in 2005 and as United States Ambassador to Pakistan from July 2007 to...

 said, "In the past, we focussed on Al Qaeda because they were a threat to us. The Quetta Shura mattered less to us because we had no troops in the region, now our troops are there on the other side of the border, and the Quetta Shura is high on Washington’s list."

Funding from Persian Gulf region


The Taliban leaders raise money from wealthy Persian gulf donors and direct operations in south Afghanistan. According to Lt. Gen. David Barno
David Barno
David W. Barno is a retired Lieutenant General of the United States Army. He was head of Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan from 2003–2005.-Early life:Barno is a native of Endicott, New York...

, the retired former commander of American forces in Afghanistan "The Quetta Shura is extremely important, they are the intellectual and ideological underpinnings of the Taliban insurgency."

Support from Pakistani intelligence


American officials believe that the Quetta Shura gets support from parts of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence
Inter-Services Intelligence
The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence , is Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, responsible for providing critical national security intelligence assessment to the Government of Pakistan...

 (ISI), as some of its senior officials believe that leaders such as Mullah Omar
Mohammed Omar
Mullah Mohammed Omar , often simply called Mullah Omar, is the leader of the Taliban movement that operates in Afghanistan. He was Afghanistan's de facto head of state from 1996 to late 2001, under the official title "Head of the Supreme Council"...

 would be valuable assets if the Taliban were to regain power after a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
According to Abdul Rahim Mandokhel, a Pakistani senator
Senate of Pakistan
The Senate of Pakistan is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Pakistan. Elections are held every three years for one half of the senate and each senator has a term of six years...

 from Zhob
Zhob
-Roads:Zhob is 333 kilometers from Quetta, 225 kilometers from Dera Ismail Khan. However, the road linking with Dera Ismail Khan is for most part fair nowadays track passing through water streams and almost complete road is metalloid....

 in northern Balochistan. "The whole war in Afghanistan is being launched from here," he said. He accused Pakistan's intelligence agencies of carrying out a "double" policy. "One thing is clear: the area is being used for cross-border offences," he said.

A report by the London School of Economics
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

 (LSE) claimed to provide the most concrete evidence yet that the ISI is providing funding, training and sanctuary to the Taliban insurgency
Taliban insurgency
The Taliban insurgency took root shortly after the group's fall from power following the 2001 war in Afghanistan. The Taliban continue to attack Afghan, U.S., and other ISAF troops and many terrorist incidents attributable to them have been registered. The war has also spread over the southern and...

 on a scale much larger than previously thought. The report's author Matt Waldman spoke to nine Taliban field commanders in Afghanistan and concluded that Pakistan's relationship with the insurgents ran far deeper than previously realised. Some of those interviewed suggested that the organization even attended meetings of the Taliban's supreme council, the Quetta Shura. A spokesman for the Pakistani military dismissed the report, describing it as "malicious".

Denials


American and western officials have long complained that Pakistan has ignored the presence of senior Taliban leadership in Quetta and done little to address this situation. Pakistani authorities have denied the existence of such an organization in Pakistan. However statements by US officials have led to fears that US would launch Drone strikes
Drone attacks in Pakistan
The United States government, led by the Central Intelligence Agency's Special Activities Division, has made a series of attacks on targets in northwest Pakistan since 2004 using drones . These attacks are part of the US' War on Terrorism campaign, seeking to defeat Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants...

 on Quetta. Jehan Zeb Jamaldini ,senior vice president of Balochistan National Party
Balochistan National Party
The Balochistan National Party or Balochistan National Party is a political party in Balochistan, Pakistan...

 was quoted as saying that Mullah Omar and his 2nd and 3rd tier leadership were around Quetta and would be targeted by the US.

Acknowledgement


In December 2009 Pakistani government for the first time acknowledged the existence of Quetta Shura. The Defence minister of Pakistan, Ahmad Mukhtar acknowledged the presence of Quetta Shura but stated that security forces had damaged it to such an extent that it no longer posed a threat.

Action



In February 2010, in a possible change in Pakistani policy, several members of the Quetta Shura were detained at various locations in Pakistan.
Top Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar
Abdul Ghani Baradar
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar , also called Mullah Baradar Akhund or Mullah Brother, is a co-founder of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan and an Afghan Taliban leader. The deputy of Mullah Mohammed Omar and leader of the militant Quetta Shura in Pakistan, Baradar was largely seen as the de facto...

 who runs the Shura was captured in Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

 in a joint operation by Inter-Services Intelligence
Inter-Services Intelligence
The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence , is Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, responsible for providing critical national security intelligence assessment to the Government of Pakistan...

 and Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

. He had reportedly gone to Karachi to meet other Shura leaders who had moved to this city in recent months. A few days later two more members of the Quetta Shura, Mullah
Mullah
Mullah is generally used to refer to a Muslim man, educated in Islamic theology and sacred law. The title, given to some Islamic clergy, is derived from the Arabic word مَوْلَى mawlā , meaning "vicar", "master" and "guardian"...

 Abdul Kabir
Abdul Kabir
Maulavi Mohammed Abdul Kabir is a senior member of the Taliban leadership.The United Nations reports that he was Second Deputy of the Taliban's Council of Ministers; Governor of Nangarhar Province; and Head of the Eastern Zone....

 and Mullah
Mullah
Mullah is generally used to refer to a Muslim man, educated in Islamic theology and sacred law. The title, given to some Islamic clergy, is derived from the Arabic word مَوْلَى mawlā , meaning "vicar", "master" and "guardian"...

 Mohammed Yunis, the Taliban’s shadow governor of Zabul Province, were detained by Pakistani intelligence.
They will be handed over to Kabul if they have not committed crimes in Pakistan.

Motivation


Analysts are split on the question of why Pakistan has now moved against these key leaders. Many say that Pakistan has decided it wants to control any negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government. However according to The News International
The News International
The News International , published in tabloid size, is the largest English language newspaper in Pakistan. The News has an ABC certified circulation of 140,000. It is published from Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi/Islamabad...

Pakistani establishment in a major policy shift had decided not to support the Shura and arrested 9 of the 18 key members within a period of 2 weeks. The policy shift was made after pressure from US as well as a request from Saudi Royal family
House of Saud
The House of Saud , also called the Al Saud, is the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia and one of the wealthiest and most powerful dynasties in the world. The family holds thousands of members...


Coalition efforts at negotiations


In November 2009, it was reported that the British were pushing for talks between the Afghan government and the Shura. 'Major General Richard Barrons
Richard Barrons
Lieutenant General Richard Lawson Barrons CBE is a British Army officer in the Royal Regiment of Artillery. He is currently Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff ....

 said negotiations with the senior echelons of the Afghan Taliban leadership council – the Quetta shura – were being looked at, alongside the reintegration of insurgency fighters into civilian life.In his first interview since arriving in Afghanistan to begin talks with "moderate" Taliban fighters, Barrons said British officials were backing extensive talks between Karzai's government and the Quetta shura, which is led by Mullah Omar and is responsible for directing much of the fighting against British forces in Helmand province.'

Early January 2010, some commanders from the Quetta Shura held secret exploratory talks with Kai Eide
Kai Eide
Kai Aage Eide is a Norwegian diplomat. He was appointed the United Nations Special Representative to Afghanistan and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan on 7 March 2008, a position he held until March 2010 when Staffan de Mistura took over.Eide has previously served as...

 to discuss peace terms, as emerged end of that month during the International Conference on Afghanistan in London. The Shura had sought a meeting with the United Nations envoy, which took place in Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

 on January 8, 2010. This was the first such meeting between the UN and alleged senior members of the Taliban, suggesting that peace talks had revived since exploratory contacts between emissaries of the Kabul government and the Taliban in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 in 2009 broke down. It was not clear how significant a faction had showed up in Dubai or how serious they were. A western official confirmed that there were "indications of splits in the Taliban over the prospect of a settlement". Supporters of former presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah
Abdullah Abdullah
Abdullah Abdullah is an Afghan politician and a doctor of medicine. He was an adviser and friend to Ahmad Shah Massoud, legendary anti-Taliban leader and commander known as the "Lion of Panjshir". After the fall of the Taliban regime, Dr. Abdullah served as Afghanistan's Foreign Minister from 2001...

 predicted that negotiations could fail because the Karzai government was "too weak", and other critics warned that trying to buy off insurgents created a "moral hazard" of rewarding combatants who had killed Western troops and local civilians. Taliban sources denied that there had been such a meeting and dismissed them as "baseless rumors".

Leaders


The Taliban's Quetta Shura is the main leadership among Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

's Taliban.
According to The News International
The News International
The News International , published in tabloid size, is the largest English language newspaper in Pakistan. The News has an ABC certified circulation of 140,000. It is published from Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi/Islamabad...

Pakistani security officials had previously regarded Afghanistan's Taliban, the Quetta Shura, and Tehrik-e-Taliban as three separate entities.
They reported that Pakistani security officials had changed their policy in early 2010, and had decided to treat all three organizations as one organization, and to crack down on the Quetta Shura. The reported Nine of its eighteen leaders were captured in late February and early March 2010.
name notes
Mullah
Mullah
Mullah is generally used to refer to a Muslim man, educated in Islamic theology and sacred law. The title, given to some Islamic clergy, is derived from the Arabic word مَوْلَى mawlā , meaning "vicar", "master" and "guardian"...

 Abdul Ghani Baradar
Abdul Ghani Baradar
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar , also called Mullah Baradar Akhund or Mullah Brother, is a co-founder of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan and an Afghan Taliban leader. The deputy of Mullah Mohammed Omar and leader of the militant Quetta Shura in Pakistan, Baradar was largely seen as the de facto...

 
  • Reported captured on February 11, 2010.
  • Reported to have reorganized the Afghan Taliban's military wing.
Mullah
Mullah
Mullah is generally used to refer to a Muslim man, educated in Islamic theology and sacred law. The title, given to some Islamic clergy, is derived from the Arabic word مَوْلَى mawlā , meaning "vicar", "master" and "guardian"...

 Abdul Qayyum Zakir 
  • Previously held in Guantanamo under the name Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul.
  • Reported captured in late February 2010.
  • Reported to remain at large, and be a candidate to replace Abdul Ghani Baradar.
  • Mullah
    Mullah
    Mullah is generally used to refer to a Muslim man, educated in Islamic theology and sacred law. The title, given to some Islamic clergy, is derived from the Arabic word مَوْلَى mawlā , meaning "vicar", "master" and "guardian"...

     Abdul Rauf
  • Reported captured in late February 2010.
  • Reported to have been a "former chief operational commander of the Taliban in northeastern Afghanistan".
  • Also reported to be a former Guantanamo captive who was just 20 years old when initially captured.
  • Mullah
    Mullah
    Mullah is generally used to refer to a Muslim man, educated in Islamic theology and sacred law. The title, given to some Islamic clergy, is derived from the Arabic word مَوْلَى mawlā , meaning "vicar", "master" and "guardian"...

     Mir Muhammad 
  • Reported to be the Taliban's "shadow governor of Baghlan province".
  • Reported captured on January 26, 2010 in Faisalabad
    Faisalabad
    Faisalabad , formerly known as Lyallpur, is the third largest metropolis in Pakistan, the second largest in the province of Punjab after Lahore, and a major industrial center in the heart of Pakistan. Before the foundation of the city in 1880, the area was very thinly populated. The population has...

    .
  • Mullah
    Mullah
    Mullah is generally used to refer to a Muslim man, educated in Islamic theology and sacred law. The title, given to some Islamic clergy, is derived from the Arabic word مَوْلَى mawlā , meaning "vicar", "master" and "guardian"...

     Abdul Salam 
  • Reported to be the Taliban's "shadow governor of Kunduz province".
  • Reported captured in late January 2010.
  • Maulvi
    Maulvi
    Mawlawi is an honorific Islamic religious title given to Sunni Muslim religious scholars or Ulema preceding their names, similar to the titles Maulana, Mullah, or Shaykh. Mawlawi generally means highly-qualified Islamic scholar...

     Abdul Kabir
    Abdul Kabir
    Maulavi Mohammed Abdul Kabir is a senior member of the Taliban leadership.The United Nations reports that he was Second Deputy of the Taliban's Council of Ministers; Governor of Nangarhar Province; and Head of the Eastern Zone....

     
  • Reported to be the Taliban's "shadow governor of Nangarhar province
    Nangarhar Province
    Nangarhar is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan in the east of the country. Its capital is the city of Jalalabad. The population of the province is 1,334,000, which consists mainly of ethnic Pashtuns with a sizable community of Arabs and Pashais....

    ".
  • Reported captured February 20 in Nowshehra
    Nowshehra
    Nowshehra or Naushera is a town and a notified area committee in Rajauri district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.-Geography:Nowshehra is located at . It has an average elevation of 1,575 metres .-Demographics:...

    .
  • Mullah
    Mullah
    Mullah is generally used to refer to a Muslim man, educated in Islamic theology and sacred law. The title, given to some Islamic clergy, is derived from the Arabic word مَوْلَى mawlā , meaning "vicar", "master" and "guardian"...

     Muhammad Hassan 
  • Reported to have been "a former foreign minister in the Taliban regime".
  • Reported captured in late February 2010.
  • Mullah
    Mullah
    Mullah is generally used to refer to a Muslim man, educated in Islamic theology and sacred law. The title, given to some Islamic clergy, is derived from the Arabic word مَوْلَى mawlā , meaning "vicar", "master" and "guardian"...

     Ahmad Jan Akhundzada 
  • Reported to have been a "former governor of Zabul province
    Zabul Province
    Zabul is a historic province of Afghanistan. Zabul became an independent province from neighbouring Kandahar in 1963, with Qalat being named the provincial capital. It should not be confused with the city Zabol, on the Iranian side of the border with Afghanistan.- Political and security situation...

    ".
  • Reported captured in late February 2010.
  • Mullah
    Mullah
    Mullah is generally used to refer to a Muslim man, educated in Islamic theology and sacred law. The title, given to some Islamic clergy, is derived from the Arabic word مَوْلَى mawlā , meaning "vicar", "master" and "guardian"...

     Muhammad Younis 
  • Reported to be an explosives expert who had served as a police chief in Kabul during the Taliban rule".
  • Reported captured in late February 2010.
  • Mullah
    Mullah
    Mullah is generally used to refer to a Muslim man, educated in Islamic theology and sacred law. The title, given to some Islamic clergy, is derived from the Arabic word مَوْلَى mawlā , meaning "vicar", "master" and "guardian"...

     Hassan Rehmani 
  • Reported to be a "former governor of Kandahar province
    Kandahar Province
    Kandahar or Qandahar is one of the largest of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is located in southern Afghanistan, between Helmand, Oruzgan and Zabul provinces. Its capital is the city of Kandahar, which is located on the Arghandab River. The province has a population of nearly...

    ".
  • Hafiz Abdul Majeed 
  • Reported to be the "former chief of the Afghan Intelligence" and the "surge commander of the Taliban in southern Afghanistan".
  • Amir Khan Muttaqi 
  • Reported to be a "former minister in Taliban regime".
  • Agha Jan Mutasim 
  • Reported to be "the Taliban’s head of political affairs".
  • Mullah
    Mullah
    Mullah is generally used to refer to a Muslim man, educated in Islamic theology and sacred law. The title, given to some Islamic clergy, is derived from the Arabic word مَوْلَى mawlā , meaning "vicar", "master" and "guardian"...

     Abdul Jalil 
  • Reported to be the "head of the Taliban’s shadowy interior ministry".
  • Sirajuddin Haqqani
    Sirajuddin Haqqani
    Sirajuddin "Siraj" Haqqani is a Pashtun warlord and military leader who fights against American and coalition forces from his base within North Waziristan in Pakistan, where it is claimed he provides shelter to Al Qaeda operatives...

     
  • The son of Maulvi
    Maulvi
    Mawlawi is an honorific Islamic religious title given to Sunni Muslim religious scholars or Ulema preceding their names, similar to the titles Maulana, Mullah, or Shaykh. Mawlawi generally means highly-qualified Islamic scholar...

     Jalaluddin Haqqani
    Jalaluddin Haqqani
    Mawlawi Jalaluddin Haqqani is the leader of the Haqqani network, an insurgent group fighting against US-led NATO forces and the government of Afghanistan. He also fought in the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan, including in the Operation Magistral...

     and the commander of the Haqqani militant network.
  • Mullah
    Mullah
    Mullah is generally used to refer to a Muslim man, educated in Islamic theology and sacred law. The title, given to some Islamic clergy, is derived from the Arabic word مَوْلَى mawlā , meaning "vicar", "master" and "guardian"...

     Abdul Latif Mansoor 
  • Reported to be "the commander of the Mansoor network in Paktika and Khost
    Khost
    Khost or Khowst is a city in eastern Afghanistan. It is the capital of Khost province, which is a mountainous region near Afghanistan's border with Pakistan...

    ".
  • Mullah
    Mullah
    Mullah is generally used to refer to a Muslim man, educated in Islamic theology and sacred law. The title, given to some Islamic clergy, is derived from the Arabic word مَوْلَى mawlā , meaning "vicar", "master" and "guardian"...

     Abdur Razaq Akhundzada 
  • Reported to be the former corps commander for northern Afghanistan.
  • Abdullah Mutmain 
  • Reported to be "a former minister during the Taliban regime who currently looks after the financial affairs of the extremist militia".

  • See also

    • War in North-West Pakistan
      War in North-West Pakistan
      The War in North-West Pakistan is an armed conflict between the Pakistan Armed Forces and armed religious groups such as the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan , Lashkar-e-Islam, TSNM, Arab and Central Asian militants including Al-Qaeda, regional armed movements and elements of organized crime.The armed...

    • War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
      War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
      The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

    • International Security Assistance Force
      International Security Assistance Force
      The International Security Assistance Force is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan established by the United Nations Security Council on 20 December 2001 by Resolution 1386 as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement...

    • Taliban